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And so it begins … BACK TO SCHOOL!
Millions of parents are dealing with new morning schedules as our babies – head back to school. It’s time again for the distinctive (dare I say squeaky) sound of the bus coming down the street – we can tell when it’s about a block away. Time for playing “school bus roulette,” where we wonder – will the cars actually stop when the bus driver puts on his red flashing lights.
Just when I was thinking that summer had been too short, it ends – not with a whimper but with a bang.
Since the beginning of June, the boys and I have been talking about this day. Palmer has a very full schedule, and had homework over the summer. For his honors courses he needed to read a book and keep a journal about it, he needed to grow those two plants I have mentioned before and he worked on an assignment that isn’t due until January for an AP Biology class. He has already completed most of the work – and chose to do it over the summer because he knew that once school started, he would be very busy and didn’t want the added stress.
And Brannon moves to a new school this year – still elementary school but a school for the older kids, away from the “little kids.” He’s ready to be given more responsibility at school – and at home – ready to take more accountability for himself. Do you remember being almost 11?
For the past month, there have been comments like, “I can’t wait for school to start,” followed 10 minutes later with “I don’t want school to start, I’m too nervous.” And for the past couple of weeks there have been questions about what to expect, what if the classes are hard, what if the teachers are mean, and for Brannon, “what if I end up in the wrong classroom?”
And so it begins.
I ran out of time this summer. I ran out of time to splash in the pool or the surf with my kids, to take a long drive through the countryside, of sitting with them and laughing about something silly.
Because I was feeling – I’m not sure what this weekend – I told Brannon to come sit on my lap. How crazy is that? My big almost 11-year-old cuddled in my lap while I rubbed his forehead and we talked – me with a lump in my throat. I’ll store that memory away – one of the days I wished I could keep him little for just a little while longer, while at the same time feeling so proud of the little man he is.
I ran out of time this summer – to stock up on back to school supplies and to outfit the boys for their first day. As we got ready to roll into the final weekend before the start of school, I realized that I had some work to do.
I never buy back to school clothes in the summer, because the first few weeks of September are usually so warm, and I know they can wear shorts.
But Saturday morning I was a woman on a mission. First stop – the shoe store. They were having a BOGO (the second one half price), and I had an additional 20 percent off coupon as a Rewards member. I walked out with two pairs of Nikes for less than $100. Saturday was a good day for shoe shopping. Then we were off to another store where Palmer had seen a pair of shorts and a shirt. Then we gathered some back to school snacks, and our last stop was to get some composition books, which is what Palmer likes to use. By 2 p.m. Saturday – we had completed our mission.
Sunday was spent getting laundry done, clothes organized for the week, backpacks packed and ready to go and making sure we had dinner early enough to get to bed – by 8:30!
A whirlwind is what this weekend was – a foreshadowing of what’s to come.
As I sent the boys to bed, Palmer wondered if he’d be able to sleep – Brannon asked him if he was nervous about Monday.
As Sunday evening wound down, and I thought everything was quiet – I heard soft footsteps coming down the steps about an hour after the boys went to bed.
“Mommy – I’ve tried and tried, but I just can’t fall asleep.” It was Brannon.
“Oh, honey, I’m sorry. You’ll fall asleep, you just have to relax.”
“I did all that, and nothing is working.”
“Do your deep breathing.”
“I tried that and counting backwards from 100. I even sat up on my bed and bounced a little bit hoping it would make me tired.”
“Do you want me to make you some warm milk?”
“Yes, please – maybe it’ll work.”
We chatted just a little because I could tell he really was pretty much asleep, and off he went to bed.
And then the house was quiet, and I went over my own first day of school checklist. I was as ready as I could be.
The alarm went off at 5:45 a.m. Monday – too early. Showers, breakfast, packing lunches, driving Palmer to school with those plants he had to grow and then getting Brannon on the bus. All the nervousness forgotten in the excitement of the day.
And so it begins!